Homeland Security and Emergency Management

A Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety

Community Preparedness

Community Preparedness Principles

  • Collaboration: Government must collaborate with community leaders from all sectors for effective planning and capacity building.
  • Integration: Non-governmental assets and resources must be fully integrated in government plans, preparations, and disaster response.
  • Personal/Organizational Preparedness: Everyone in America must be fully aware, trained, and practiced on how to prevent, protect, mitigate, prepare for, and respond to all threats and hazards.
  • Volunteer Service: Citizen activism and volunteer service provides ongoing support for community safety and critical surge capacity in response and recovery.

Community Preparedness Model

Community Preparedness Model.jpg

Citizen Corps


The mission of Citizen Corps is to harness the power of every individual through education, training, and volunteer service to make communities safer, stronger, and better prepared to respond to the threats of terrorism, crime, public health issues, and disasters of all kinds.
Following the tragic events that occurred on September 11, 2001, state and local government officials  increased opportunities for citizens to become an integral part of protecting the homeland and supporting the local first responders.   Citizen Corps was created to help coordinate volunteer activities to make communities safer, stronger, and better prepared to respond to emergency situations. It provides opportunities for people to participate in a range of measures to make their families, homes, and communities more resilient to the threats of natural disasters, crime and hazards of all kinds.
Citizen Corps programs build on the successful efforts that are in place in many communities around the country to prevent crime and respond to emergencies. Programs that started through local innovation are the foundation for Citizen Corps and this national approach to citizen participation in community safety.
Citizen Corps is coordinated nationally by the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and statewide by HSEM.  In this capacity,  HSEM works closely with other federal entities, local governments, first responders, emergency managers, and the volunteer community.
Citizen Corps enables all citizens to embrace their personal responsibility to be prepared; to get training in first aid and emergency skills; and to volunteer to support local emergency responders, disaster relief, and community safety.

Learn About It 

Talk About It

  • Host a house meeting with your family, neighbors, co-workers, and faith-based colleagues.
  • Get in touch with your local emergency management agency, fire department, police or sheriff’s department, EMTs/paramedics, or other emergency responders to send an expert to come speak at your event.
  • Create an event that promotes safety and preparedness and raises awareness.
  • Sponsor a forum, like a town hall meeting that encourages people from throughout the community to discuss disaster preparedness and response and to exchange information and ideas. 

Act on It

  • Help prepare friends and family.  Visit the websites of organizations and government programs like Ready.gov and the and the National Safety Council to learn more about how you can prepare for and respond to disaster. Visit the website of the Home Safety Council to learn how you can make your home safer for you and your family. 
  • Get started by finding Citizen Corps Councils and programs near you by entering your zip code on the Citizen Corps website.
  • Volunteer with one of the National Citizen Corps partners or affiliates.
  • Participate in crime prevention and reporting.
  • Take classes in lifesaving skills, such as CPR/AED and first aid, or in emergency response, such as CERT.
  • Volunteer to support first responders, disaster relief groups, and community safety organizations.
  • Work with parent-teacher organizations to discuss how you can support their emergency plans and drills.  The Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools and Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools will have information on school emergency preparedness and response